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Indian Army Takes Rebel Stronghold in Northeast

From Reuters

Indian troops have captured an important rebel stronghold in the northeastern state of Manipur, close to the border with Myanmar, the army said Saturday.

About 6,000 troops have been deployed in a major operation against rebel-controlled regions of Manipur. Neighboring Myanmar has offered help, closing its border to cut off escape routes.

The army said it had reestablished control over Sajik Tampak, a stretch of thick forested mountains where an estimated 2,000 rebels had set up camps.

Government officials have reopened offices in small towns and villages in the area, which had been in rebel hands for several years. The area lies in Chandel district, 50 miles south of Manipur’s capital, Imphal.

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The Indian army says it has attacked more than 100 rebel bases in Manipur since Monday. Two soldiers died after stepping on a landmine, the military said. Police officials in Chandel said at least 30 rebels had been killed and 50 arrested.

The rebels accuse New Delhi of plundering the region’s resources and neglecting its economy and welfare.

Manipur and India’s six other northeastern states, home to more than 200 ethnic and tribal groups, have been racked by separatist and tribal insurgencies since soon after independence from Britain in 1947.

New Delhi says many of the rebel groups have bases on the other side of porous borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar.

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